May 25, 2018, OTTAWA — Funding partners and over 60 guests gathered to celebrate the opening of the newly refreshed and rehabilitated Baxter Pond.
Located at the Baxter Conservation Area, the Baxter ASL Pond is visited annually by over 5,000 students from kindergarten to university looking to learn about pond ecology. It is home to frogs, fish, turtles, birds and aquatic invertebrates and visited by children who get to observe the diversity of life hiding along its shores and in its cool waters. It is here where students learn about freshwater pond habitat and how animals adapt to life under water. Equipped with nets, basins and sporting good old-fashioned rubber boots, students get up close and personal with the animals that call the pond home.
Although still teeming with life, the pond wasn’t as healthy and resilient as it could be. Dry summers were taking a toll on the shallow pond. It was time to gently deepen its bed, thin-out excessive vegetation, add wood materials as habitat, plant shoreline shrubs and install new platforms for future outdoor learning. And thanks to several community-minded partners, the pond was able get the TLC it well deserved.
The project was jumpstarted with an in-kind donation by ASL Agrodrain – Earth Works Contractors. From here, additional funders were quick to jump onboard and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority’s (RVCA) rehabilitation plan was put in motion.
“The pond is a remarkable, vibrant area — and these restoration efforts will only make it better,” said Jennifer Lamoureux, RVCA Biologist who oversaw the project. “Last summer was quite wet, this meant that the pond habitat was really robust and meant that over 4,000 fish, frogs, tadpoles and turtles were relocated by RVCA staff last fall before the restoration project began. This included six largemouth bass and a brown bullhead with eight yearlings. We are confident that deepening the pond will only improve its biodiversity and ensure it continues as a special spot for children to explore and learn.”
The newly restored pond now boasts a variety of side slopes that allow for more diverse plant growth and also provide safe learning areas for keen kids. Wood material, in and out of the water, now acts as homes for fish, frogs and turtles while freshly planted native trees and shrubs will add to the pond’s shoreline vegetation.
In the meantime, educations programs are fully booked over the next few months to the end of the school year. “We are excited to welcome children back to the pond,” said Andrea Wood, RVCA Area Supervisor and Interpreter. “Our programs are interactive and provide students with a hands-on approach to learning and the Baxter ASL Pond is an important part of the experience.”
Special thanks to the funders who made the restoration project possible: ASL Agrodrain, the Canadian Armed Forces Fish and Game Club, Canon Canada, City of Ottawa, Don Maciver Memorial Fund, Kiwanis Club of Manotick, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Zone F, TD Friends of the Environment, along with Rideau Valley Conservation Authority and Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation.
Photo: Funders of the Baxter Pond Restoration Project gather to unveil the new interpretive sign developed as part of the improvement efforts — (left to right) Jeanine Maciver (Don Maciver Memorial Fund), Michael Poliwada (RVCF Executive Director), Adrian Smith (Manager TD Bank, Manotick), Ryan Polkinghorne (Project Manager Surface Water Engineering Support Services, City of Ottawa), Bill McShane (ASL Agrodrain President), Sommer Casgrain-Robertson (RVCA General Manager), Sandro Ricci (ASL Agrodrain Vice President of Business).
May 22, 2018, OTTAWA — The City Stream Watch Program is looking for volunteer “scientists” to help monitor, protect and cleanup Ottawa streams. Now is the best time to get involved — a Stream Watch Training Session will be held for volunteers on Saturday, June 2. The training session will welcome new volunteers and introduce them to the basics of stream sampling and environmental data collection.
“The City Stream Watch program is driven by volunteer participation and gives the community a chance to contribute to the health of their local streams,” said Chelsey Ellis, City Stream Watch Coordinator. “By helping to assess these unique urban features, volunteers play a crucial role in environmental protection and enhancement.”
This year’s City Stream Watch Training Session is scheduled for Saturday, June 2 from 10 a.m. to noon along the shores of Sawmill Creek. All necessary equipment is provided and there is no cost to volunteers; however, pre-registration is required. To register or for more information, please contact Chelsey Ellis, City Stream Watch Coordinator at .
This year the City Stream Watch Program is collecting data on Taylor (Orleans), Mud (Gloucester), Black (Gloucester/Mer Bleue) and Nepean Creek (Nepean). The 2018 sampling season will focus on assessing the habitat, water and shoreline conditions of the stream, and includes fish community sampling. There are also additional opportunities for cleanups, shoreline planting and invasive species removals.
“Over the last 16 years the City Stream Watch Program has enlisted the help of over 2,400 volunteers, contributing over 14,000 hours towards conservation projects and monitoring,” said Ellis. “Anyone who wants to get involved is welcomed.”
The City Stream Watch program is a community-based partnership, which includes the City of Ottawa, the Canadian Forces Fish & Game Club, the Ottawa Flyfishers Society, the Rideau Roundtable, the Ottawa Stewardship Council, National Capital Commission and Rideau Valley Conservation Authority.
For more information about the program, including the reports of streams previously studied, please visit www.rvca.ca/volunteer/city-stream-watch.
May 17, 2018 — RIDEAU VALLEY WATERSHED — More than 30 new classes will be visiting the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority’s two flagship outdoor education centres thanks to special funding through the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation, the Ottawa Community Foundation and TD Friends of the Environment. Subsidies are now available to cover busing costs for schools visiting Baxter and Foley Mountain. Separate subsides are also available to priority schools visiting Baxter who need assistance covering program and busing costs.
Baxter Conservation Area, located in the City of Ottawa near Kars and Foley Mountain Conservation Area in Westport will welcome some 1,800 additional students during the 2018-2019 school year thanks to this funding. Owned and operated by the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) these two popular outdoor destinations offer education programming year-round to nursery schools, day cares, home schooling groups, public and private schools and community groups. Each year, over 10,000 children participate in these interactive, curriculum-based programs.
“Our outdoor programs are carefully crafted, innovative and reflect the Ontario curriculum,” said Andrea Wood, Baxter Conservation Area Supervisor and Interpreter. “We are so excited to offer this special funding — we want everyone to access our programs because the best way to learn about nature is to experience it.”
Programs can be a half-day or a full-day and look to provide students with a strong understanding of our natural world, how it functions and how humans fit into it. Topics include beaver pond ecology, forest habitats, orienteering and snowshoeing. All programs are interactive and experiential to provide students with a “hands-on” approach to learning about natural science in our “Ecology Lab.”
"We are constantly looking for ways to make our programing more accessible,” Rebecca Whitman, Foley Mountain Conservation Area Supervisor and Interpreter. “We look to remove barriers — through accessible trails, low program cost and now special subsidies.”
Teachers who are interested in this opportunity are invited to contact Baxter and Foley Mountain Conservation Areas directly.
“We are looking to foster a lifelong relationship between children and the natural world,” said Ms. Whitman. “Learning outdoors is a wonderful adventure and we believe children learn best by doing.”
To learn more about outdoor education programs, day camps and other outdoor learning at Baxter and Foley Mountain Conservation Areas, visit www.rvca.ca.
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The Ottawa Community Foundation is a public, non-profit organization created by and for the people of Ottawa. It connects donors who care with causes that matter and serves as a trusted resource for addressing issues and leveraging opportunities in the community. It attracts and manages a growing endowment, the invested earnings of which provide grants to charitable organizations. For more information, visit www.ocf-fco.ca.
The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority is one of Ontario’s 36 Conservation Authorities. The RVCA is responsible for furthering the conservation, restoration, development and management of natural resources in the watershed. The Rideau watershed covers 4,234 square kilometres in eastern Ontario and is home to over 620,000 people. For more information, visit www.rvca.ca.
The Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation is a registered environmental charity working to help protect and conserve the lands and waters of the valley of the Rideau River in Eastern Ontario. The Conservation Foundation builds partnerships and seeks new individuals, corporations and groups wanting to get involved in the vital work of taking care of our own natural environment. For more information, visit www.rvcf.ca
TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF) is a national charity that funds environmental projects across Canada. With the support of more than 180,000 donors, TD FEF has provided approximately $89 million to over 26,000 environmental projects and programs. For more information, visit https://fef.td.com/.
May 15, 2018 – By this statement the Flood Warning issued on April 30 for Bobs and Christie Lakes is terminated.
The water level on Bobs Lake has receded to the ‘Full Supply’ threshold. No significant rain is presently forecast for the next four days. Therefore, levels on both Bobs and Christie Lakes can be expected to continue to recede toward normal summer levels over the rest of the week. Rain forecast for Saturday and Sunday is not expected to be enough to raise levels again.
Caution is still needed around lakes and rivers with water still cold and above normal in some locations.
May 10, 2018 – The Mississippi Valley and Rideau Valley Conservation Authorities are advising residents that water levels appear to be stabilizing. Some nuisance flooding (Petrie Island, Boise Wood) has occurred. Rain that fell this morning was not enough to have an impact and there is no rain forecast for the next five days that would cause levels to increase again. Water levels will gradually decline to normal summer levels over the next two weeks barring the development of a significant weather system..
Note that streambanks are slippery along the Ottawa River, water is fast moving and still very cold. Children should be informed about the hazards and kept away from all watercourses as levels fluctuate with the spring weather.
This message will lapse on May 15, 2018 unless conditions warrant further messaging.
Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board http://ottawariver.ca/river-levels-flows.php#river-levels-flows-7-days for more information.